Today’s Vespers – 1st reading is Isaiah 61:1-9
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the foreigner shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But you shall be named the priests of the Lord, they shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory you shall boast. Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs. “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, and will make with them an everlasting covenant. Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the posterity whom the Lord has blessed.”
Today’s Vespers – 2nd reading is Composite 24 – Leviticus 26
The Lord spoke to the sons of Israel, saying: “If you will walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them, then will I give you the rain in its season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And the time of your threshing shall reach unto the gathering of the vine, and the gathering of the vine shall reach unto the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and you shall dwell securely in your land. And I will give peace in your land, and you shall sleep, and none shall make you afraid; and I will destroy the cruel beasts out of your land, and war shall not go through your land. And you shall pursue your enemies, and they shall fall before you with slaughter. And five of you shall pursue a hundred, and a hundred of you shall pursue ten thousand; and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. And I will look upon you and bless you; I will increase you and multiply you, and establish My covenant with you. You shall eat the old stores, and the oldest of the old; and you shall carry off the old to make way for the new. And I will establish My covenant with you, and My soul shall not be disturbed with you. And I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. “But if you will not hearken unto Me, nor do these My commandments, nor submit yourselves to them, and your soul should abhor My judgments, so that you should not keep all My commandments, so as to break My covenant, then will I do thus to you: I will bring want upon you; you shall sow your seed vainly, and your enemies shall eat up the fruit of your labors. And I will set My face against you, and you shall fall before your enemies and be made subject to them that hate you; you shall flee when no one pursues you. And I will break down the haughtiness of your pride; I will make your heaven like iron and your earth like brass. And your strength shall be in vain, for your land shall not yield its seed, nor shall the tree of your field yield its fruit. And I will send upon you the wild beasts of the land, and they shall devour you and lay waste to your cattle; and I will make you few in number, and the sword falling upon you shall destroy you. And your land shall be desolate and your gates deserted, for you walked perversely before Me; and I will walk contrary to you in fury,“ saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel.
Today’s Vespers – 3rd reading is Wisdom of Solomon 4:7-15
But the righteous man, though he die early, will be at rest. For old age is not honored for length of time, nor measured by number of years; but understanding is gray hair for men, and a blameless life is ripe old age. There was one who pleased God and was loved by him, He was caught up lest evil change his understanding or guile deceive his soul. For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind. Being perfected in a short time, he fulfilled long years; for his soul was pleasing to the Lord, therefore he took him quickly from the midst of wickedness. Yet the peoples saw and did not understand, nor take such a thing to heart, that God’s grace and mercy are with his elect, and he watches over his holy ones.
Today’s 11th Matins Gospel reading is John 21:15-25
So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
Today’s Epistle – New Year reading is 1 Timothy 2:1-7
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle – I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying – a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
Today’s Gospel – New Year reading is Luke 4:16-22
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
Today’s Epistle – St. Simeon reading is Colossians 3:12-16
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Today’s Gospel – St. Simeon reading is Matthew 11:27-30
All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Today’s Epistle reading is 1 Corinthians 9:2-12
If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we have no right to eat and drink? Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.
Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 18:23-35
Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
Saints and Feasts celebrated today
Saint Simeon Stylites, the Elder
Troparion — Tone 1
You were a pillar of patient endurance,
Having imitated the forefathers, O Venerable One:
Job in suffering, and Joseph in temptations.
You lived like the bodiless ones while yet in the flesh, O Simeon, our Father.
Beseech Christ God that our souls may be saved.
Kontakion — Tone 2
Seeking the things of the Highest,
And having made your pillar a fiery chariot, you were joined to the heights.
Therefore, you have become a companion to the angels, O Venerable One,
And with them you are praying incessantly to Christ God for us all.
Additional Saints and Feasts (without hymns):
- Church New Year
- Venerable Martha, mother of Saint Simeon Stylites
- Martyr Aithalas of Persia
- Holy Forty Women Martyrs and Martyr Ammon the Deacon, their teacher, at Heraclea in Thrace
- Martyrs Callista and her brothers, Evodius and Hermogenes, at Nicomedia
- Righteous Joshua, son of Nun (Navi)
- Finding of the Icon of the Mother of God at the Miasena Monastery
- Icon of the Mother of God “Chernigov-Gethsemane”
- Saint Meletius the New
- Icon of the Mother of God, the “All Blessed”
- Venerable Evanthia
Today’s Fasting Guidelines
Today is Fast Free. Today is Fast Free